Top positive review
6 people found this helpful
on July 25, 2007
What the previous reviewer has labeled fluff is generally regarded by scholars as "close reading" of the text, paying attention to details in the text which we might otherwise ignore. Granted the Garlands go beyond the text on (rare) occasion, asking questions the text doesn't seem particularly interested in asking. But this does not detract on the whole from what is otherwise a careful, insightful project.
This readable book is easy to read and is for anyone interested in the Bible, especially those struggling with family problems or suffering because of relationship difficulties or traumatic life events.
For example, the chapter on Michal provides insight into her shame at David's dancing, insight which most readers (including the present reviewer) tend to miss without special attention to her story elsewhere in Samuel. We miss such insights because of many factors, but particularly due to failure to read the Bible closely and our cultural assumptions which may reflect Hollywood more than the Holy Book (i.e., that Bathsheba seduced David, an assumption the authors rightly refute). There are two antidotes: going back to the text to see what it really says, and asking careful questions to ensure that the text is saying what we think it's saying.
As the Garlands note, when we pay careful attention to those who are "damaged goods" in Scripture, the simple act of hearing that one's trials are also found in Scripture provides enormous encouragement to the suffering. For those of us who live around others who are suffering, hearing oft-ignored stories from Scripture helps us hear the cries and needs of those who suffer in the present. The Bible isn't just about heroes, and it's certainly not about perfect families and lives--it's about people in need of mercy and grace and restoration.
Well done, Garlands!